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IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at EPCOT

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a firework, light and laser show at EPCOT.

It is the recipient of numerous awards and widespread critical acclaim for its spectacular, diverse and sophisticated range of water, fire, light, pyrotechnic and firework displays.

The first Illuminations: Reflections of Earth show was held on the 23rd of September 1999, and has been a nightly feature of EPCOT ever since.

The show replaced the original IllumiNations, to celebrate turn of the new millennium.

At the time of the opening in 1999, it was named IllumiNations 2000, and it was not intended to continue past the year 2000.

However, due to the overwhelming success and popularity of the new show, Disney decided to remove the 2000 from the name and keep the show running as a permanent feature.

The theme of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a celebration of the new millennium.

The show as a whole is so glorious and monumental that it truly feels as if you are standing there on the 31st of January 1999 all over again.

There are very few displays in the world that can come close to matching the size and complexity of the display.

As is the case with most of the more high-budget Disney World attractions, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth has had a number of sponsors, from General Electric to Siemens and Sylvania.

World Showcase

The show takes place in the World Showcase themed land, in the central mass of water which forms the majority of the surface area of this section of EPCOT.

The entire show is quite extensive, beginning with atmospheric background music that is looped for approximately half an hour throughout the massive lagoon.

After the pre-show music, you will see torches burst into flames and you will be welcomed to the show by the familiar voice of Jim Cummings, who has appeared in Shrek, Aladdin, The Lion King and Winnie the Pooh, to name but a few.

Anticipation builds as the lights all around EPCOT are dimmed, and Act I begins.

Act I is known as Chaos.

It depicts the disorganized chaos that was required to form our solar system and by extension, our own planet Earth.

The scene ends with scorching hot fire and explosive fireworks.

Act II, known as Life, Adventure, represents the evolution of planet Earth from a hot ball of rock to a cooler, aquiferous world capable of supporting life.

The globe changes color as it cools, from white hot, then to red, and finally to the blue we know today.

As life emerges, you will see continents, countries and famous places appear, and by some of the most influential people the world has ever known.

Act II ends with a laser and light show combined with astonishing high-launch fireworks.

Act III, the grand finale, begins with the song We Go On.

From within the opened globe come a series of 1000 fireworks so bright that they illuminate the whole lagoon.

The final set of fireworks concludes in signature Disney style, and the explosions of the finale can be heard for miles around.

By Marie Ospina
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